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Urgent maintenance works on river construction halt part of Athens Tram operation

Urgent maintenance works on the construction and retaining walls channeling the river of Ilissos underground will disrupt the operation of the Athens Tram for an unspecified period of time.

Starting on Friday, October 19th 2018, the Tram will no longer operate up to end station <Syntagma> but will halt at <Kasomoulis> station in Neos Kosmos suburb of south Athens, the Ministry of Transport & Infrastructure announced on Wednesday.

Reason for the ministerial decision that will trouble thousands of commuters is the dramatic situation of the construction around the river and under large parts of the main avenues in the area between Neos Kosmos and Syntagma.

Erosion, botched construction works and lack of proper maintenance set the system at risk and create a “dangerous situation” as the ministry said.

The damages were discovered during investigation by the Greek Water Company (EYDAP) following the collapse of a part of the parking space outside the train station of Tavros last May.

At a press conference on Wednesday,  Transport & Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis and Regional Governor of Attica Rena Dourou presented data and pictures from the EYDAP investigation.

The findings are shocking.

Indicative for the emergency of the situation is that EYDAP submitted its report only last Friday and the ministry announced the halting of the Tram operation in less than a week.

Half completed construction of supporting walls.

However, Spirtzis stressed that the closure of part of the Tram line is “only preventive.”

The stability problem has been known since 2002 when the Tram tracks were constructed ahead of the Olympic Games in 2004.

“The problem was just set aside and nobody took action for the necessary maintenance works until today,” Spirtzis said.

“We found in a depot house boxes full of reports, studies about the Metro and the Tram, technical reports submitted to the Metro company,” the minister said.

The technician who conducted the study in 1998 “referred to signs of insufficient or improper foundation of the retaining walls of the Ilissos river bed, from Kalliroi Avenue to Syggrou Avenue, referred to several damages on the construction material and dysfunction of the whole system.”.

The study was “buried” because there was no surveillance system back then.

Ignored was also a technical study of the Ilissos tunnel in the part between Vouliagmenis Avenue and Fratzi Stree in 2002, while the Tram way was under construction. The study investigated only the covering plate of Ilissos but not the retaining walls upon which the concrete plate was sitting.

“We understand the need for the rapid completion of the Tram project before the Olympic Games, but we do not understand why no action was taken after the Games.

Collapsed Parking space in Tavros train station.

Under the parking space…

The river of Ilissos drains on the west slopes of Hymettus Mt in East Attica and flows into the sea at Faliron Delta, in Neo Faliron.

Its covering started in the 1930’s and is channeled underground in the modern city of Athens, flowing under main avenues like Mesogeion, Michalakopoulou, Vassileos Konstantinou, Kallirois and part of Syggrou before it continues under main avenues of Kallithea and Neo Faliro.

Erosion pictures from the file of the transport Ministry.

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